5 Great Places to Visit in Central America

Create the Perfect Trip To Central America

Panama City

Over 1 million people call Panama City home, so you can find a plethora of things to do both day and night.  The city itself was founded in 1519 by conquistador Pedro Arias Davilla.  Set on fire in 1671, the ruins of the original buildings are still visible, before much of it was reconstructed in the following years.

In Panama City, you can find picturesque beaches on the Pacific and tropical rainforests not far away. The diverse ecosystem allows for symbiotic relationships of animals and plants, helping the environment thrive.  Close to the equator, you’ll be greeted with great weather whenever you visit.

During your trip, you can’t miss the famous Panama Canal, a 48-mile-long artificial waterway built to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Finished in 1914 by the United States, the Panama Canal is a modern technological marvel that hundreds of thousands of ships pass through each year.

The passage allows ships to skip the 1,000 + miles journey around Cape Horn in South America. After a 15-minute ride to the locks, you can walk through the visitor’s center and watch the ships pass through.

After, enjoy some local cuisine from vendors on the street like Chicheme, Tostones, and Sancocho.  With museums, rainforests, and plenty of UNESCO world heritage sites, you’ll find adventure waiting for you, whether you cruise, fly, or even drive to Panama.  You can cruise from popular ports like Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco.

central america beach vacation

Fun fact:  Ships that could ride through the Panama Canal before the newest addition were called Panamax.

Guatemala

If you’re looking for adventure, make a stop in Guatemala on your next vacation.  Outdoor activities for the whole family meets old-world charm and architecture for the perfect experience.

In the southwestern highlands, you’ll find Lake Atitlan, located in a volcanic crater.  Surrounded by hills and volcanoes, you can hike mountains, ferry across the lake, and get the perfect photo.

Want something more laid back?  Head to Semuc Champey, a tropical park with waterfalls and crystal-clear waters.  Swim or lay back by the shore in the shade of the rainforest.

Up north, hidden deep in the rainforest are the Tikal ruins, once home to Mayans.  It’s the oldest structure in the Americas pre-Columbus and has great historical and cultural value to Guatemalans.

If city life is more your style, you can head to historically significant towns and villages across the country like Guatemala City, Coban, and Villa Nueva, where you can explore ancient streets, museums, and cathedrals.

Belize City

A water lover’s dream, Belize City offers small getaway islands, teems of vibrant fish, and the famous Great Blue Hole, a sinkhole off the coast over 400 feet deep.  Divers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts flock to this site for spectacular views. You can easily take a day trip here either by boat or plane to dive, snorkel, or just enjoy the view.

Onshore, explore St. Johns Cathedral, the oldest Anglican church in all of Central America.  With colonial architecture and historical significance, it’s worth a visit.  Nearby, find the Government House, where you can see period furniture, documents, and photographs.

Just outside the city lies Altun Ha, an ancient Mayan Temple visited by millions each year, a must-see for archeology lovers.  The ancient city has structures made of stone to form a village, with pyramids built for worship.

Costa Rica

You can find everything imaginable for the perfect vacation in Costa Rica.  Beaches, all-inclusive resorts, lush rainforests, and exotic species all call Costa Rica home.

Looking for a relaxing vacation on the beach?  Stay at an all-inclusive resort where everything is already planned out during a Costa Rica Vacation. You’ll enjoy beautiful ocean views, unlimited dining and beverages, and great nightly entertainment.  Many resorts even offer adventurous excursions if you can drag yourself off the Caribbean Sea.

Toucan in Central America

If adventure is more interesting, go ziplining through the jungle or trekking through the mountains.  With over 12,000 species and 100 native trees, the country boasts a very biodiverse ecosystem, great for trying new foods and flavors.

If you’re lucky, you might spot a jaguar in the forests or turtles in Tortuguero National Park, one of the many protected environments for native species in the country.

Roatan, Honduras

Off the beaten path, Roatan is a tropical Caribbean island, first founded in 1510 and surrounded by white-sand beaches and balmy weather year-round. 

You can find plenty of water activities around the island and in the Caribbean like snorkeling, diving, boating, and even an animal sanctuary.

You can get to Roatan by plane, boat, or even cruise ship, so you have plenty of options to plan your next trip.  If you hop over to the mainland country of Honduras, you’ll stop in La Ceiba, a bustling city near national parks and wildlife refuges, home to jaguars, toucans, manatees, and mangroves.

By: Devyn Woolsey

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